Earthquake Buddy App Sends Your Location To Friends When an Earthquake Hits

earthquake-buddy

As we saw in last year’s tragic earthquake in Japan, communication in the wake of a disaster can be a huge problem. Last year network disruptions left many people unable to get in touch with loved ones to find out their whereabouts.

Earthquake Buddy is a new mobile application which aims to resolve the problem of locating people in the event of an earthquake. Once you buy the app (for $4.99), you enter the contact information of four friends or family members. And in the event of an earthquake that registers higher than magnitude 5.5, your buddies will be alerted with your location (see more in demo video below). In addition to the English version, there are Japanese and Spanish versions as well.

Earthquake Buddy was developed by a company called The App Collective, based out of Australia. It was funded by angel investors with contributions from Screen NSW as well. I spoke with CEO Adam Wells to find out more about the app, and the company’s future plans.

Could you tell me a little about your company and this project?

The App Collective was formed to save lives through the use of mobile technology and community engagement. It is currently designing a range of rescue apps including tornado Buddy, Hurricane Buddy, Hiking Buddy. Earthquake Buddy is also being presently developed in the Android platform as well.

As the name implies, The App Collective is a disparate group of app designers, developers and marketeers brought together to make a real difference in saving lives. In all there are two founding ‘employees’ with external experts in the above-mentioned disciplines. Our collective aim is to save lives using both high technology with community engagement.

Importantly, the app has been independently endorsed by Global ‘Recovery Tsar,’ professor Ed Blakely, who headed up the Hurricane Katrina recovery among others. His endorsement allows us to take the app to The United Nations and possibly The World Bank.

How did the project start? earthquake-buddy

We were astonished to learn that most rescue services often don’t know where to begin their search when trying to find missing victims of large earthquakes. Earthquake Buddy is designed to solve this fundamental problem by ensuring community engagement can act swiftly to find them.

Once Earthquake Buddy is downloaded, users are prompted to enter their details and details of four friends or family members to become their ‘buddies.’ In the event of an earthquake above 5.5 on the Richter scale [1], the user’s buddies are instantaneously and automatically sent an email, from the cloud, showing a Google map of their location. After 30 minutes, if the user has not heard from his buddies, they can go straight to the Google map location (if safe to do so); or contact emergency services to alert them of their buddies’ location.

Most importantly, the message is designed so it will be received prior to any telecommunications outage and thus does not rely on the iPhone itself to be sent. Buddies can also receive an SMS, a Facebook post and tweet with the same details.

The new app is designed not only for people living in earthquake zones, but also for tourists and business travelers nervous about traveling to quake prone destinations like New Zealand, Japan, the west coast of the USA, and Asia.

What are your plans to promote the Japanese version? earthquake-buddy-japanese

Japan is a primary country for the app. I used to live there, and remember the lengths government and community used to go to prepare for the next big one. Well, the next big one hit last year, and we are determined that through this app we can make a difference to the people of Japan.

There is no other app that automatically and in real-time, finds lived ones after an earthquake. This is why we developed the Japanese language version of the app.

As mentioned above there will be an Android version for Japan in the next couple of months. We plan to engage with government departments, natural disaster management associations and NGOs to spread the word about an app that does so much.

Was there ever any thought to make it a free app somehow, in order to make it available to more people?

We are talking to Apple about changing the remuneration model to a subscription whereby people can buy it for less, then update their subscription in say, 1 year, 3 years etc. We are also deciding on NGOs about sponsorship/s which would allow us to offer it at a lower price. A freemium model is not workable as the app is not an app with value-adds, nor would advertising work as it’s not an app that you would interface with everyday.

That leaves the up-front fee, which we have priced to enable us to continue our development of other rescue apps and platforms. The alternative is per above. When we launch in India and China, our price will definitely be lower.

Is there any plan to speak with local carriers (Docomo, KDDI, Softbank in particular) about licensing the app and pre-loading it on as many smartphones as possible?

We are open to speaking to telcos although our initial launch is direct. We would welcome a dialogue with these telcos though.

Besides India and China, are there plans to expand to other Asian countries? Indonesia perhaps?

China will be our next language, with a possible version for India in Hindi. However we are pragmatic, and know that most of India is not as earthquake prone as Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. An indonesian version is definitely planned. Our decision not to initially develop in Indonesia was because of Indonesia’s high concentration of Symbian phones. We watch market penetration keenly, and as soon as we can see that Android and iOS has a critical mass in Indonesia, we will launch there too.


  1. I’m told that this comes from USGS data, but there are standby feeds as well.  ↩

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia
    Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia

    Australia urged Indonesia Monday to delay the execution of two men for drug offences until a corruption probe into their case is complete, after a report that judges sought tens of thousands of dollars in bribes. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face the firing squad within days, along with others from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and an Indonesian prisoner. "I should point out that Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran's lawyers are pursuing action before the …

  • Pacquiao pleads for Indonesia to spare death row Filipina
    Pacquiao pleads for Indonesia to spare death row Filipina

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out Monday from final preparations for his $400 million megafight with Floyd Mayweather to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of eight foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face …

  • FordPH Launches the All-New Mustang
    FordPH Launches the All-New Mustang

    Ford Philippines launched the all-new Mustang in a rock concert held at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, last week .  The All-New Mustang is the sixth generation since Ford  launched the first model in April 17, 1964. “The all-new Mustang represents the very best of Ford and its arrival marks the latest chapter of the iconic muscle car’s rich legacy, crafted with a more contemporary look and feel.  With a history spanning more than 50 years, this iconic car is at the heart and soul of Ford and …

  • China maritime tensions dominate Southeast Asia summit
    China maritime tensions dominate Southeast Asia summit

    By Manuel Mogato and Praveen Menon KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Southeast Asian leaders edged closer to open criticism of China's land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea at a regional summit on Monday, as the Philippines drew the ire of Beijing which called its objections to the work "unreasonable". The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur, which was supposed to showcase the 10-member bloc's progress towards economic integration, was overshadowed by the …

  • The ‘All You Need’ 2015 Isuzu D-MAX launched
    The ‘All You Need’ 2015 Isuzu D-MAX launched

    Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) just recently introduced the 2015 Isuzu D-MAX pick-up truck at the Clark International Raceway to show that their pick-up model can conquer any kind of terrain.The high-end LS variant and standard LT 4x4 is now equipped with a more powerful engine, the 4JK1-TC (Hi) 2.5-liter engine which with Common Rail Direct Injection and an intercooled Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger. IPC also introduced a new standard ride variant, the LT-X 4x2 manual …

  • Limited Edition Honda CR-V and Jazz now available
    Limited Edition Honda CR-V and Jazz now available

    If you’ve always wanted to be part of an exclusive group of car owners, now might be the time for you to consider getting a Honda CR-V or Jazz.  Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) just came out with their limited edition All New Jazz and New CR-V. …

  • ToyotaPH hit its highest monthly sales last March
    ToyotaPH hit its highest monthly sales last March

    Toyota Motors Philippines hit its highest monthly sales to date last March, registering 10,237 units sold.  This recent CAMPI report puts Toyota’s market share at 43.5% last month. …

  • VolkswagenPH launches Child Safety Initiative
    VolkswagenPH launches Child Safety Initiative

    Volkswagen Philippines just  launched the VW Child Safety Initiative (CSI) campaign which aims to support child safety on Philippine roads at the just concluded Manila International Auto Show (MIAS). The World Health Organization’s road safety facts show about 1.24 million die each year globally as a result of vehicle related accidents. Child restraint systems like child seats and booster seats also reduce risk for children by about 70% for infants and upto 80% for small children. This …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options